Frequently Asked Questions

Select one of the frequently asked questions below to learn more about buying, selling real estate. Also, begin to think about important things to consider when diving into your real estate search.

Question about selling

Physical Condition

Physical deterioration is one of the most common reasons for a home to lose value. Aging structures decline in value when items become worn and need replacement. Curb appeal is lost when the style of a home becomes outdated, causing market value to decrease. Even simple neglect can cause a home to lose value. The good news, however, is a homeowner can take action to bring the property value up by making needed repairs, investing in sensible remodeling projects and cleaning up his property. Once your house is brought back to good physical condition, you can protect property values by performing routine maintenance and repairs as needed.


Location is always a key factor in determining property value. Surrounding homes, businesses and activities will have an effect on any home’s worth. A home located in a neglected neighborhood can depreciate – regardless of the structure’s condition. The noise from a nearby business can decrease home value. Even the unsavory conduct of people living in or frequenting a neighborhood can cause a decline in value. Prudent homebuyers should carefully consider neighborhood conditions and check the community’s master plan before making a purchase. Once you make your investment, actively engage in efforts that enforce zoning and local ordinances to protect housing values.

Perceived Risk

Although it may not be physically evident, a perceived risk in home ownership can cause a house to lose value. For example, even if a home has never actually had flood activity, but it is located in a flood zone, a potential buyer may perceive that risk is imminent — thus driving down the value of the home. Additionally, the high cost to insure such a property may also decrease what a potential buyer is willing to offer since he will bear high carrying costs in the future.

Economic Factors

Perhaps one of the most frustrating reasons for a decrease in home value is a depressed economy. When money is scarce and eager buyers are absent, values often decrease — regardless of a home’s condition or location. The best choice a homeowner has in a bad economic climate is to hold on to his property, if he is able, and wait until market conditions improve to sell.

Not all homes are built alike. Location, builder, finish outs will dictate the value of a home. This applies to both new builds and resale single family dwellings. You have to take all these factors into consideration when determine value. Home buyers tend to buy location first, then price and condition second. 

real estate broker or a real estate agent is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate or real property. While a broker may work independently, an agent usually works under a licensed broker to represent clients.[1] Brokers and agents are licensed by the state to negotiate sales agreements and manage the documentation required for closing real estate transactions. In North America, some brokers and agents are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association for the industry.[2] NAR members are obligated by a code of ethics that go above and beyond state legal requirements to work in the best interest of the client.[3] Buyers and sellers are generally advised to consult a licensed real estate professional for a written definition of an individual state’s laws of agency, and many states require written disclosures to be signed by all parties outlining the duties and obligations.

Mortgage lenders often require borrowers to have an escrow account. With this kind of account, you pay a few hundred dollars extra every month on top of your monthly mortgage payment of principal and interest. The servicer keeps this extra money in the escrow account until your property tax and homeowners’ insurance bills are due. The servicer then uses the money to pay the bills on your behalf Some borrowers like the ease of having an escrow account; by paying a little bit each month, they can avoid worrying about having to pay large amounts when the tax or insurance bill comes due. But if you prefer to pay these bills on your own, you might be eligible to cancel the account—if you meet certain criteria and depending on the type of loan you have.

The entire mortgage process has several parts, including getting pre-approved, getting the home appraised, and getting the actual loan. In a normal market, this process takes about 30 days on average, says Fite. During high-volume months, it can take longer—an average of 45 to 60 days, depending on the lender. If the lender uncovers any financial issues in your record (e.g., a low credit score, previous foreclosure, or overwhelming debt), getting a mortgage can become a slower and more complicated process. 

Don’t wait until you’ve found the perfect home in order to start the mortgage process. The time to start is as soon as you start thinking you might want to buy a property.

Many sellers will require that buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage before they will accept an offer. This involves the lender checking your credit rating, debt-to-income ratio, and other financial information. Depending on your circumstances (self-employed, temporary visa, previous bankruptcy, etc.), this can take anywhere from one week to several months. Once you’re approved, the lender will provide a letter stating the amount of money you’re approved for, then you can get to home shopping.

Compare listings